Archive | April, 2012

Or . . .

30 Apr

I know we usually reserve bookish blog posts for Friday, but sticking to a schedule hasn’t been our strong point lately.

Shoot, posting hasn’t been our strong point lately.

But here I am.  On a Monday.  Posting.  About a book.

I have a good reason, though.  Here it is:

We first encountered the Modern Mrs. Darcy when reading Pride and Prejudice over at A Classic Case of Madness.  Then I found out she was hosting this nice carnival, and since I prefer my carnivals free of overpriced fried foods and death-defying buckets of bolts, participating seemed like a lovely idea.

My first impulse was to write this post for our book blog, but I couldn’t pick one of the books.  So instead, you should go read Adriana’s post about The Well-Educated Mind.  She gets it.  And, she has clever, beautiful pictures to accompany her clever, beautiful words.

I, on the other hand, am floundering to pick a book, forget photos and carefully crafted prose.

I could write on something spiritual, like, say, Spirituality of the Cross.  Gene Veith wrote this simple book on life in Christ that made me say, “Oh!  Of course that’s what I believe!  Now I get it.”

For that matter, Music Matters by David. J. Elliot shaped my entire philosophy of music education and drove my college career, I suppose that’s pretty life changing.

Speaking of careers, the Lutheran Service Book is at the core of my career and my prayer life, so it probably deserve a little coverage.

But maybe I should tell you a romantic story.  For instance,  I fell in love with my husband while we were reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy aloud to one another in the first weeks of our relationship.

Or how about when I fell in love with him all over again as he read aloud Charlotte’s Web to our infant son?  Maybe e.b. white wins the honor.

I suppose even Mary Pope Osborne deserves some credit, because the day that same first-born child really “got” reading was when he picked up her Christmas in Camelot.  His independence and enjoyment in the book filled my heart with joy that we were rearing a reader.

Or, I could tell you how completing Don Quixote with my two dear friends gave me a high I can only imagine equals that of completing a marathon, minus the achy limbs and chafing, of course.  With pages coming in at nearly a grand, I knew finishing that book made me a Reader, and possibly a little crazy.  Together with those friends, we have made our way through at least 3886 pages of the classics, using The Well-Educated Mind as our road map.

And Susan Wise Bauer didn’t just change my life by opening the classics.  Through The Well-Trained Mind she and her mother are instrumental in teaching me how and what to teach my children.

Maybe The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society deserves the credit though.  Not only did it bring me immense enjoyment, it is the book that turned my non-reading, sixty-year-old mother into a Book Addict.  I’d call that life-changing.

And I don’t want to leave out The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and These Is My Words: They Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine.  Mma Ramotswe and Sarah are two of my very best friends.  I introduced Sarah to my sister, and my sister introduced Precious to me.  We’re all bosom buddies.  They should be on the list.

Anybody have any good recommendations for a book on decision making?


I don’t think it’s just her radiator block.

24 Apr

My dear friends, you may have noticed our serious slow-down in blogging in the last few weeks.  Please excuse us, life is really crazy.

I mean, really, really crazy, and not in that “Wow, look how many things are on our schedule” way.    It’s more of the, “Goodness, we have lots of children and they expect us to feed them, and provide clothing that doesn’t expose unnecessary bits of ankle or knee, and to go to our jobs so that we can earn money so as to put a roof over their heads and wheels under their feet” kind of busy.

You know, the kind that you totally get because you live it, too.  The kind that makes you step back every once in a while and say, “Hey, something’s gotta give, and it isn’t going to be our family.”

Yup, those are our lives, and we know you can relate, so we won’t spend copious amounts of time apologizing for it, but posting here might be somewhat less than regular, regardless of how many squished Fiber One bars we eat out of the bottom of our purses.

We just thought you should know.

And also, I wanted a good excuse to post this e-mail that Stacy just sent me.  I’m doing this not only for the entertainment factor, but also as a Public Service Announcement.  If I were you, I would heed the subject line:


To:  Chistina, Mom, Dad
From:  Stacy
Subject:  Don’t call me . . .

….because I MAY bite your head off. (Kindly disregard dangling prepositions today)
Das Auto ist kaputt.
Der Radiator Block ist cracked.
Die Brakes are blown.
Das Wheel Base ist OuttaWack.
Der Problems ser viele.

It’s Vertical

20 Apr

Way back in March it was Dr. Suess’ birthday.  March of 2011, that is.  There was probably one this year, too, but 2011 is the one that was mentioned in the pre-blog e-mails.  And, as you’ll soon see, the boys weren’t begging to put this holiday in permanent marker on the calendar.

So, enjoy this belated homage to Theodore Geisel, and if you’re free tonight or tomorrow night, pop over to West Michigan Lutheran High School and see their production of the Seussification of Romeo and Juliet.  I hear there will be Seuss related concessions, surely more appetizing than what you are about to encounter.

Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them Sam-I-am?
Do you like them in a pan?
They look funny in a pan.
Would you like them in a bowl?
I would not, could not, in a bowl.
I do not like them in a bowl.
I do not like the way you roll.
I do not like them on a plate,
I will not smile or celebrate.
I do not like the way they look.
Why, Dr. Suess?  Why write this book?
I do not like them next to cheese,
I will not eat them, if you please.
I cannot try them, they’re not da bomb,

Author’s note:
They’re pretty good with New York Cheddar,
But Eggs Benedict taste much better.


Acting our Age – Part IV

19 Apr

We’re going to wrap-up this extensive trip into our e-mails today with a little back and forth.  If you need to, go back and read Parts I, II, and III.  I’m using the word ‘need’ there pretty loosely.

What you should know today:  To respect our mother’s privacy I’ve left out her e-mail in which she talked about sorting through old piles of junk, her long-term life goals, and asked why Stacy had more time to e-mail while she was subbing then while she was home taking care of her two preschoolers.


To:  Mom, Dad, Christina
Subject:  Snippets from the week – reply, reply, reply . . .

Oh, wow. SO much on which to respond.

Okay – Thom. Maybe he shouldn’t get the babies undressed. I mean, I don’t know. Really – I was 25 before I was fully equipped for such a task. Yikes. Hmm…

I wonder where my kids got the phone. And reunited during the school day. I’ll talk with them about it.

Christina, let’s start a vertical sister blog. At this point I think it’s best we all remain vertical.

Mom, I have plans for your future. Scrap all that junk, pack up the things you can’t live without, and move somewhere within a 25 mile radius of us. There. That’s real future. And don’t think I’m saying ANY of this in jest. Not a joking bone in my body as I script this paragraph…

I can email on subbing days because I have stretches of time (i.e. recess) where I sit in front of a computer in a comfortable chair. Also, 3rd graders are FAR less distracting than Joes and Charlies. Far less. Oh, and sometimes I need my computer at home to be the carrier of “Go! Diego! Go!” so that I can nap. I am saying this all in earnest.

It sounds like my computer is going to disappear soon. So respond NOW!


To: Mom, Dad, Stacy
From:  Christina
Subject:  Snippets from the week, reply ad naseum

Alright, I’ll forego Thomas’ help for another 20 years.  Whatever.
Owen found the phone on the playground.  It’s invisible, which explains why his teacher doesn’t seem to notice his extracurricular activities.  But you will have to get to the bottome of Chuck’s presence at O’s school.
Okay, Vertical Sister Blog it is.  But I’m still going to ask around to see if there are any options for nonvertical blogs.  You’re job is to come up with a really good title.  Go!
Stacy’s plans are good.  But mine are better.  I can think of two houses within walking distance of ours that would be perfect for your families.  Go!
You know what’s worse than 35 degrees and rain?  33 degrees and down pouring rain.  While leaving the library. You know what’s not cute?  Walking out of the library in the pouring rain and hearing Abers say, ‘Ooo…it’s pottying on me.”
The boys checked out a Junie B. Jones audiobook.  It’s giving me reminiscent morning sickness.
This afternoon we are going to make a book of the ten plagues.  For some reason Susan Wise Bauer left out the lobsters and replaced them with locusts.  What’s wrong with that woman?  I thought she knew her history.
Okay, Potty Mouth needs a nap.

Acting Our Age – Part III

18 Apr
Phase three of the e-mail start of our blog coming your way, today!  If you missed Part I and Part II go read them first, or this won’t make any sense.  Even if you do, it might not make any sense, but that cannot be helped.
Included in this e-mail you’ll find the link to an incredibly rich resource that Stacy asked about in the previous e-mail.  We’re not pretending that’s funny stuff, it just actually happened, and you know how we like to keep things real.  Plus, we’re happy to send anyone we can towards these amazing catechetical resources.
Other things you should know to fully grasp this correspondence:  Stacy had recently won some highfalutin award for being a Particularly Fantastic Teacher of All Things Mathmatical, or something like that.
And last but not least:  Today, you finally get a glimpse of the blog’s conception.  Don’t be afraid.  It’s not that graphic.
To:  Stacy, Mom, Dad
From: Christina
Subject:  Snippets from the Week – reply, reply
The Pressure.  It’s too great.
Sim just asked if Abe could do his math for him today.  It might be one of those days.
It’s raining and 35 degrees, so I guess it’s already one of those days.
While I was in the shower this morning Thomas got the babies undressed.  Helpful or scary?  You weigh in.
Now Sim says he’s never going to do math again.  If only we had a Math Education Genius in the family who could fix him.
I’ve been thinking of starting a blog, but I don’t like how blogs are vertical.  I want my blog to have pages to turn like a book, or like a facebook photo album.  If anyone ever fixes that I will be all over it.
Now Sim is talking on the cell phone to Owen while he’s doing his math.  Oh, wait, he just told him he would call him back after he finished his math and handed the phone over to Abe so he could talk to Charlie.
Stace, you’re children are distracting my children.

When you can't phone a friend at least you can commiserate with a character.

Acting Our Age – Part II

17 Apr

We need to continue with our “Christina and Stacy: Bloggers” history lesson. Remember a few weeks ago when my sister published this, the first installment in the series of emails that got this blog rolling? I have for you today installment #2. Let me remind you that I was subbing, and (to quote my sister) magnificently pregnant. Christina was homeschooling just 1 of her 5. The twins were infant status. AND, although there’s no specific mention yet as to a sister blog, it lies within these words. I promise.


To: Christina, Mom, Dad

From: Stacy

Subject: Snippets from the week – reply

We’re having pajama day today! I am totally taking advantage of that. Give a pregnant lady the chance to wear pjs in public? Yes, please.

Good e-mail, sister. Good e-mail. Also, I have yet to comment, but I thought your Dr. Suess was brilliant. You should publish. Online. In a social forum.

Christina, I know I already shared this with you, but I might as well put it out there in cyber-space. My son thinks my legs are “comparatively large”. The problem? He’s right. Comparatively right.

Okay – today’s a real easy day here subbing so I expect many lengthy responses. But don’t let that polytheistic monster of yours touch the keyboard. It might be catching.

In the same line – the 6th graders I subbed for the other day are currently studying the Ancient Israelites as well. You should have Sim come read to them. I am certain they wouldn’t even notice the addition of Lobsters.

Oh, and I forgot the name of that website with the memory work guidelines. Peace Suffix dot org? Is that right?

Alright. I love you and expect witty repartee today.


Comparatively large? I don't know. I couldn't see them...




13 Apr

No books to see here today, folks, but lots of words, because –

It’s National Scrabble Day!

Okay, so I wouldn’t have known that today was the 113th birthday of Scrabble creator Alfred Mosher Butts had it not been for my ever-on-top-of-it friend.  So, thank you, Jeannette.

In light of the holiday, (I’m not throwing that word around too loosely, am I?) we utilized the “Mom’s Choice” time-slot to learn the fine game.  Mom’s Choice is the period from 1:00-1:30 when then children don’t know what to expect out of our homeschooling schedule.  Will it be a read-aloud?  Maybe an art project?  Baking time, anybody?  A walk around the block?  Shoot, they’re just happy when it isn’t picking up their room, or trip to the grocery store.  For that matter, I’m pretty pumped when it isn’t one of those two things, as well.

The boys learned this classic board game, and I also learned a lesson or two.  I’ll share those with you.

1.  A lot of spelling, phonics, adding, multiplying, and counting can be accomplished without ever using the words spelling, phonics, adding, multipying and counting.

2.  The opposite of a Winning Game is a Losing Game.  Neither is desirable when pitting a Reader against an Almost Reader.

3.  Nonreaders are not affected by the Winning vs. Losing aspect of the game because the Nonreader is also a little foggy on numbers.

4.  The Nonreader needs to review counting to seven.

5.  When aided by the Nonreader in cleaning a shaker’s worth of pepper off the table so you can begin play, remember to have said child wash his hands before rubbing his tired eyes.  Failure to do so will increase the child’s necessity for naptime and shorten the game dramatically.

6.  Scrabble is not designed for Nonreaders.

7.  Timers help you pass the time, especially when you find the game “not that interesting.”

8.  There is no apparent audible difference between the words ‘scramble’ and ‘Scrabble.’

9.  Team Scrabble lends an added challenge to the game.

10.  Everyone should go play Scrabble right away.  Cecilia said so.


Two birds. One stone.

12 Apr

Thing I(we) Love: Crafts

The other day I made this:

I was proud of my handy work so to my sister (and a few others forgiving of braggadocio) I sent a picture. Christina replied with something like this:

“You should quit wasting your time on material yens and blog.”

Or maybe it was this:

“How dare you shove your lack of blogging in my face with felt and sack cloth!”

It may have been closer to this:

“BLOG, darnit! BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

So, CyberFriends, feast your eyes.

Some Awe

11 Apr

He totally is, Pete.  He totally is.  And last week while I was 88 post-it notes deep in hymns he did it all – the cooking, the laundry, the diapering, the vacuuming.

What’s that Pete?  He does all of that every week?  Oh yeah.  You’re right.  Awesome, that’s what your Dad is.


2 Apr

Please excuse our Holy Week blogging hiatus.

We’ll be back April 9.